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Business

Better than optimism

BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

I’m an eternal optimist. I always look for the possible good, even behind the seemingly bad. It has been said that optimists are people who look for opportunities behind a calamity, while pessimists are people who look for calamities behind every opportunity.

Somebody said: “The optimist invented the airplane while the pessimist invented the seat belts.”

One lady says: “In the mornings, I’m apt to be sleepy and grouchy. My husband is just the opposite. He springs out of bed, sings in the shower, and babbles to me over breakfast.”

Once exasperated, I exclaimed, “How can you be so happy?!” He replied brightly, “Because, so far, nothing’s gone wrong with my day.”

I guess I am this sort of person. When I wake up in the morning, I choose to be optimistic. Even if I’m wrong, I would have had a better time committing the mistake than if I were a pessimist.

However, as an entrepreneur, I exercise: “cautious optimism.” I make sure that my optimism is tempered by realism. Maintaining an optimistic perspective toward things, I must research, study, fact-check, and seek the truth behind things, then take calculated and educated risks but still be optimistic that good things will follow. But here is something better than plain optimism. It is called “Faith.”

The truth is that The World Depends on Faith. Famous author Howard Hendricks in his book, “Faith in Tough Times,” says: “I didn’t observe any of you come into this room and examine your chair before you sat in it. You automatically committed yourself by faith to the chair, assuming it would hold you. Most of you got here by car; you slid in the car and turned on the ignition, and away you go. You don’t have a clue as to what goes on behind the scenes. You can’t explain the process. You trust it. The last time you went to a doctor, he wrote a little prescription. You couldn’t read it. You wondered if anybody could read the thing! Then you took it to your pharmacist and gave it to him. Have you ever discovered when you give a pharmacist a prescription, he always disappears behind the screen? That shakes me up. I often wonder what in the world the guy is doing back there. I wonder if he slept through his course in pharmacy school. But he gives you the little bottle and says, “Take it three times a day,” By faith, you do exactly what he tells you to do. Faith is woven into the system.”

While this is true, I am bothered why this does not fit my logical mind. My favorite philosopher Dr. Dallas Willard explained it beautifully. He says, “there is no such thing as blind faith. Faith operates under an environment of knowledge.” You automatically sit in that chair because you KNOW others have sat on it, and the chair did not collapse. You may not know how the car works, but you certainly KNOW that cars have transported people safely, which is why you ride in it. You certainly would not trust any doctor when you KNOW that most of their patients die after medication.

My faith is based on the careful study of facts and truths and an enormous amount of hard work and diligent study so I can come as close as possible to the right knowledge that forms the basis for my optimism. There is nothing new-agey about this as what many immature “motivational speakers” preach.

Scriptures describe faith: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) This is why I could wake up in the morning and be optimistic because it is built on faith. Faith that God has made this new day a new opportunity to be productive and to learn new things. For people who do not have faith, optimism is sheer wishful thinking.

Robert Shannon says it right. “They have a saying in Vienna, Austria: “The situation is hopeless, but not serious.” It’s an interesting contradiction in terms. Yet life is truly a mixture of optimism and pessimism, hope and despair, sunshine, and shadow. Sometimes the same situation can have both elements in it simultaneously!

So, do you want to be optimistic? Build up your faith first.

 

 

(Francis Kong runs his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership 2.0 Master Class Online this Oct. 25-27. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

OPTIMISTIC

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